Innovative Procedure Helps Alleviate 20 Years of Pain

Dr. Ali Nairizi, MD, and Linda Luster

Linda Luster had been living with debilitating pain since 1997. At the time, Golden Valley was hit by a snowstorm that left her housebound for two days. When she was finally able to get out of her house, the snow was waist deep.

Focused on clearing the snow, Luster did not realize her feet were becoming frostbitten. “I was wearing boots, and it still happened,” she says. After coming in from shoveling, Luster was in constant, extreme pain. “My feet were ice cold and hurt 24/7. I couldn’t sleep for more than 45 minutes. I felt like I was walking on broken glass and could barely walk to the bathroom,” says Luster.

Doctors did X-rays and various tests and found Luster was suffering from irreversible nerve damage, or bilateral peripheral neuralgia/neuropathy due to exposure to extreme cold. “Nothing helped the pain and I had to go on disability because I couldn’t stand for long,” Luster says

Earlier this year, Luster found Ali Nairizi, MD, a board-certified anesthesiologist and pain specialist at Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists. Dr. Nairizi recommended Luster undergo a trial of Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) stimulation therapy to stimulate the bilateral L5 nerve root. In DRG stimulation, a small pulse generator with four outward leads is implanted under the skin. These leads are attached to the painful area on the body. The patient is able to control the activation of small electrical impulses to the affected area. This can actually block the painful stimuli and provide effective pain relief without medication. Luster’s trial with the device was successful, and in May, Dr. Nairizi performed the outpatient procedure that permanently implanted the device.

Luster’s procedure went well and she was happy with the experience. “Dr. Nairizi was wonderful, and the staff at Northern Nevada Medical Center was fabulous,” she says. “They’re all angels. They kept in touch with me to see how I was doing after I went home, and they all signed a get well card. The doctor recommended NNMC and I’m so glad he did.”

Today, Luster is able to stand for a longer period and has begun to resume her normal life. Dr. Nairizi told her it would take up to a year to recover fully, but she is seeing improvement every day. “My feet are no longer cold, and it’s great to finally have some relief. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to Dr. Nairizi and NNMC,” she says.

Learn more about the Pain Management Center at NNMC >